When I was a little girl I sat up straight and serious in the sky blue armchair in the formal living room, with a floor-to-ceiling bookcase filled with novels, the World Book Encyclopedia and tomes of history and poetry at my back. In my small hands I held a large book, whose title I could not yet read.

I felt grown-up and worldly as I sat, my small legs dangling high above the hardwood floor and oriental carpet, and pretended I could read.

My father walked by and laughed at what he saw. My mother joined him and her smile, too was of amusement. I had almost managed to pull off an impersonation of a sophisticated reader at work, but for one detail: I was holding the book upside down.

I love recalling that moment—a moment when I knew that the rows of black squiggles on the page were packed with meaning, but I could no sooner decipher them than I could understand mathematical formulae or the patterns that create the DNA that I was made of. Unfortunately I can’t remember the moment I learned to read: The moment when the code was broken and all at once I was ushered into the mystery and magic of stories, of poetry, and meaning that books contained.

I am once again that little girl in the big blue chair when I stare into my dreams. I know that all those images and characters have meaning. I know they are a book filled with mystery and story. Like a child in kindergarten, at times I can make them out symbol by symbol, image by image. But sometimes I imagine that my efforts are amusing, as I do the equivalent of holding the book upside down. I don’t even know what I don’t know yet.

I like to think that one day those mysteries will become as easy for me to read as are the sentences I lay out line by line as I type here today. In the meantime I do what I did as a little girl. I open the books—in this case dreams—even the ones that are far beyond my current understanding, and I do my best to learn to read them.

© 2011Tzivia Gover, Certified Dream Therapist

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